Ceremony Marks 15 Years Since Disappearance Of Milwaukee Child

Alexis Patterson's Mother Says She Still Has Hope

Patterson memorial
The Rev. John W. McVicker, Sr., left, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke at Wednesday’s memorial ceremony for Alexis Patterson, outside Hi-Mount School in Milwaukee. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

A ceremony Wednesday in Milwaukee marked the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of a local girl, Alexis Patterson.

The 7-year-old child went missing in 2002 near her Milwaukee school. The disappearance of the African-American youth drew national attention when news media were criticized for focusing on white children who were missing.

Patterson’s mother Ayanna Patterson told a group of reporters Wednesday she’s still hoping to see her child again.

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“Well, I’m not sad. I’m thankful, because I still believe that she’s coming home, and I know God has everything under control, yeah,” Patterson said.

Patterson has said she doesn’t believe the result of a DNA test last year, that indicated an Ohio woman is not her daughter. Patterson said she’s working with a Milwaukee Police Department detective who specializes in cold cases.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke helped lay a memorial wreath outside Alexis’ former school, but the controversial Clarke didn’t speak to the media.

Patterson said she met privately with Clarke, and thanked him for his continuing interest in the case.